Opinions of Good Eats BBQ Grill...
- Dommy Jul 28, 2006 08:01 PM
I've decided to get my SO a bigger grill for our anniversary and when I told him, he proclaimed he wanted Alton's (he's a Good Eats nut!)
Well, we actually found it...
We've seen the show where he proclaims this the Uber grill (We actually have the DVD... LOL!!) and it does look great. But it's a bit more than I expected to spend.
Now, I am willing to spend it if this indeed is a great grill. But I might be able to convince him of something else if the price is just a mark up because it's a "BBQ's Galore Exclusive". So anyone familiar with this grill? All comments and feed back appreciated.
We're going to go check it out in person this weekend, so I'll let you know what we decide. Either way, can't wait to start grilling!! :)
On a separate and earlier show, Alton used a Weber kettle, but he fashioned a duct with an electric drier at the end to create a truly impressive high-temp grilling environment. I guess he was going after the steak places that grill at 2000F on their salamanders.
Just watch out following too closely in AB's footsteps... I'm not sure that this guy's completely sane.
I have seen that episode and know people who have seen him do that up close, and yes I believe he was off his meds when he came up with that Idea.;) But 95% of the recipes of his I try come out delicious. Better than that, they make sense before during and after. So I'm sticking with Alton, until proven otherwise.
Dommy - I have a grill virtually the same as Alton's. I really liked it. But... after two years, if I did it again, I'd get a Weber kettle. here's my reasoning.
* First, it's less than a fourth of the price and that's if you get the 22 1/2" Gold. If you don't get the Gold, then it can be less than 1/5 the price.
* Second, it holds heat far better. The big BBQ Chef Texas Grill is big and vacuous, so it wastes heat in those corners. Therefore it is harder to keep it at the temperature you want. The fuel door makes feeding it relatively painless, but you still have to tend it regularly.
* Third, you need far less fuel. For the same reasons as point #2 above.
* Fourth, kettle takes a little less maintenance. The porcelin coated exterior means that if I leave it out in the rain, I still don't ever worry about rust, unless I chip the thing.
* Fifth, there's something to be said for the domed design of the kettle... it creates movement of air, which creates a sort of convection oven.
Now, the positives on the BBQCTG:
* Adjustable fire grate, which allows you to get the coals nice and close, making searing really easy. This, in my opinion, is the real value in this grill.
* Cast iron grates. They are really nice. (but like all cast iron, they require maintenance. Sometimes with a grill, I don't want to do that much grill maintenance. However, you can buy a cast iron grill plate that sits on the kettle too.
* Larger cooking surface. This is nice too, but, I found that I only used the entire surface once when I was cooking hamburgers for a huge picnic. I could have bought a bunch of kettles for the price of needing the surface area just that once.
One of the reasons I initially bought this grill was so that I could do some low and slow bbq. It was large, so I figured I could throw the meat in one end, fuel and wood in the other and be off. But after trying to keep temps low in this thing for hours on end, I realized it wasn't really designed for this. It's designed for grilling. So, I ended up buying a smoker (Weber Smoky Mountain... amazing by the way). And once I had that for real smoking (pulled pork, brisket, ribs, but also turkey, etc.), I found I needed the big grill far less. So, I ended up buying a kettle, since it is just so much easier to do (don't have to maintain grill grates as much, can use less fuel, etc.).
If you want a poor-man's version of this grill, look at the $109 Char-broil Santa Fe. It has an adjustable cooking grate, same general design. It doesn't have cast iron grates, it is made of thinner guage steel, and isn't as sturdy as the bbq galore one, but it is 1/4 the price. But, again, if I'm going for a $100 grill, nothing gets more value than the Weber kettle.
Anyhow, just a few thoughts. Hope that helps.
Thank you so much for your thoughts. It has given me food for though. I have owned a 22 inch Weber and agree it is a fantastic grill but I was equally frustrated by the lack of fuel elevation, and feeding door and more importantly the lack of a tempature gauge. While I might have drilled a hole in it and stuck a thermometer in, I was not smart enough at the time. Because of the lack of gauge I never got good at adjusting the vents, which is key to using this grill.
When I saw the BBQ Chef grill and the ad Alton did for it, [Yes, that show was pure infomercial for the grill] I thought that would work better for the way I grill. I tend to Grill more than smoke, though seeing Professor Salt in competetion has made me think I would like to try slow cooked BBQ ribs someday. My thought on using this grill would be for grilling meats [legs of Lamb, standing rib roasts, etc.] veggies, fish and say a whole turkey once a year. My concern as you point out, is low and slow but I think I might be able to finagle it with this grill I have seen arguments on both sides. If it really doesn't do low and slow, in a few years much to Dommy!'s chagrin, I'll supplement it with a Weber Smokey Mountain which would give me a wider range of cooking options on either end of the cooking scale then just the kettle. Oh and I did see the Char-Broil Santa Fe and thought it was too flimsy.
But who knows, I may end up getting the Weber Kettle anyway.
[Aka Dommy!'s SO]
re: Mattapoisett in LA
don't get me wrong... I would love to have that grill, in addition to my kettles, weber smokey mountain, gasser, etc. But my wife has oddly drawn the line at 4 grills/smokers (but thankfully that doesn't count the 250 gallon water tank a friend and I are currently turning into a big offset trailer-rig smoker). I just think if I could only have one, I'd probably choose the kettle, given the price differential.
Either way, you'll have an awesome grill. And, as I always am, I'll be thoroughly jealous.
re: Mattapoisett in LA
I'm glad my Weber kettle doesn't have a thermometer, because those are notoriously unreliable. The sensor is up at the top, not down on the grill where the food is, and there could be anywhere up to 50 degrees difference there!
Best advice I ever got about grill temp monitoring: take your probe thermometer (and I can't recommend a probe thermometer highly enough if you don't already have one) and plunge the sensor all the way through a large baking potato. Lay the potato on the grill on whichever part you want to keep an eye on and you're done! Plus, when your guests aren't looking, you can eat the roasted potato!
Mine's a basic Polder that tops out at 500 -- it's true that you can fry a probe that way, but I never have, because the only time I need to know the temperature is when I'm doing indirect grilling or smoking and I don't want the temperature to get beyond a certain point.
I figure I never really need to know the temperature of the direct-grilling surface: once you get to the point of "really frickin' hot," there's not much knowledge to be gained from whether the surface is 650 or 700!
re: Mattapoisett in LA
hey, just grilled on my kettle again last night. Had a thought... using a fully loaded Weber chimney, the coals on one side of the grill were only about 2 inches max from the grill grate. That's about as close as the adjustable fuel grates can get too... I think the more important thing about an adjustable fuel grate (as opposed to a fixed one like the weber) is that you can actually get the fuel *farther* away from the grill rather than closer to it. What I can't do in my kettle is move the fuel a good 8+ inches away from the food. In my old "alton brown" grill, I could grill chicken direct the whole time by moving the grill grate down all the way. That was - now that I remember it - pretty cool. All that said, just moving to the other side of the grill isn't a bad way to go either...
In my ever so humble opinion, there's only two ways to go right now when it comes to grilling: Charcoal (e.g. Weber) or Infrared (e.g. http://www.bbqgalore.com/store/item.b... ). Note that I said grilling, and not barbeque-ing (slow and low).
I've had the Turbo Sport IR grill for about 3 months now, and it's an astounding *little* grill. Heats up quickly and intensely, sears (or burns) quite nicely, and easy to clean up. However, this grill is really meant to cook just for two, there's no way you could entertain adequately with this thing.
Which brings me to charcoal. Weber One Touch is where it's at. Period.
Some other little Turbo Sport tidbits found here: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...
Yes we did and we LOVE it... P. keeps promising me he'll post a full review (Since it's his playtoy) so hopefully soon you'll get one... in the meantime, here's a report I did when we used it this summer for couple of large get togethers... :)
Best of luck when you get it in!! :)
Thanks for the follow-up Dommy, and when P does getting around to a full review, I'd love to hear it, as I'm suffering abit of buyer's remorse for spending quite abit of cash on the blasted thing, and seeing how I could have lined up four Weber Golds for the price I paid....
Also, regarding the other great post you made about the grill, can you tell me how you went about seasoning the grates? Did you just load it up with charcoal and grease the grates, or did you put them in the oven?
BTW, Great writeup on the inaugural meals!